Skip to main content

tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  September 23, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

1:00 pm
seen reported on this week, if you want to fight that battle, if you want to make the population safer, you're going to have to invest a lot more in terms of u.s. troops. >> this as the president today at the united nations really laid it out there. this is his policy of engagement. let's watch. >> the time has come for the world to move in a new direction. we must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. and our work must begin now. we know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words. speeches alone will not solve our problems. it will take persistent action. >> he's saying i came to you in the first nine months. look at what i have done. day one, i did guantanamo. i've taken these steps. now it's up to you, the world leaders, the world community, to step up to the plate. >> right. and the question is, he talked
1:01 pm
in his inaugural, andrea, as you remember about the unclenched fist that would be -- that would meet other powers. enemies of the united states like iran. well, the question i think nine months in is what does this president have to show for that policy of engagement? that's going to be put to a rather large test when it comes to iran and whether iran is seriously willing to negotiate. something that ahmadinejad says they are not when it comes to their own nuclear program. this is the test of a process of engagement. what can the president do by way of talking to people? what kind of leverage does he have through the united nations? china and russia imposing sanctions. they haven't been on board with that so far. what is he really able to do with problems like iran with north korea or even getting israelis and palestinians to talk to one another in a way that has any meaning to it whatsoever. >> as we've been watching the dynamics here, of course you've got the secretary of state. you were at the clinton global initiative. this was bill clinton talking about hillary on "david
1:02 pm
letterman" last night. >> first of all, i'm immensely proud of her. i'm really proud of her. in the last two years, you know, she's been through an amazing roller coaster. she ran for president. i'm proud of how she did that. she worked her heart out for president obama. she did 70 appearances for hill. i was proud of her for doing that. then he asked her to be secretary of state and she gave up the job she truly loved. she loved being a senator for new york. for most of our married life i was in politics and she was a nongovernmental person. like what i'm doing now. we've now reversed roles. i've gotten pretty good at what she used to do. she's gotten real good at what i used to do. >> as an average househusband, you, david, you've got to love what he's doing, though, here in new york city. you were over there. i think you've got a big interview coming up on "meet the press." >> we do. we'll speak to president clinton not only about those efforts for the clinton global initiative
1:03 pm
and some of the problems he's tackling around the world, but also the politics of the day. the administration. the role of secretary of state and how she's doing. but how this president is doing on the challenges that president clinton knows well. fighting for health care reform, dealing with a huge budget deficit, and, of course, the very difficult issues of what he's facing overseas. also i want to mention governor of new york, paterson, will also be my guest exclusively to talk about this interesting dynamic between him and the white house and the white house pushing him not the run next year. >> interesting is an understatement. that is one hot show. thank you so much, david. we'll all be watching. watch david this sunday on nbc's "meet the press." president obama as david suggested was urging the u.n. leaders to join in efforts to advance middle east peace. adding that it is the responsibility of both sides to end this conflict. >> relaunch negotiations without preconditions. the goal is clear. two states living side by side in peace and security. i am not naive.
1:04 pm
i know this will be difficult. but all of us,re -- just the israelis or palestinians must decide if we are serious about speech or whether we'll just lend it lip service. >> senator lieberman joins us. this is a big day. a big turning point for american foreign policy. the president has pivoted a bit. he is putting less pressure on israel to completely free set mmem setlement ts before engaging in talks. something that has distressed p palestinian. he is urging both sides to do something and do it now. he's clearly inpatient. let's watch what he had to say today. >> the united states does israel no favors when we fail to couple on unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that israel respect the legitimate
1:05 pm
claims and rights of the palestinians. [ applause ] and nations within this body do the palestinians no favors when they choose visit reeal attacks against israel over constructive willingness to recognize israel's legitimatesy. >> your former colleague george mitchell came back empty handed last week from the latest round of negotiations. does the m obama administration now have the balance right? or do you still think that more needs to be done in order to get these talks going? >> well, first, progress never occurs between the israelis and the palestinians unless the united states is involved because we're the only power that both of them really trust. but this is a hard moment to achieve a major breakthrough or any kind of settlement of the israeli/palestinian dispute, for the significant region that
1:06 pm
one-third of the palestinian territory is controlled by hamas, which is a terrorist group that wants to destroy israel. so you've got a government in ramallah that really i think is open to negotiating with israel. and i think the extent that you can get them at a table doing something, maybe even negotiating the borders of an ultimate two-state solution, that's good. so i think it's worth continuing to try that. the original obama administration position would seem to suggest that the biggest obstacle to peace in the middle east was is israeli policy of building on territory that most everybody feels in a final two-state settlement will be israeli i think is putting the emphasis in the wrong direction. the real threat to peace in the middle east really is iran. and that israel and the arab countries pretty much agree on. >> of course, iran, when we hear
1:07 pm
from ahmadinejad, he'll be speakispeak ing around 7:00 tonight. since arriving in the united states he's been leaning towards leniency for the three american hiker stuck in an iranian prison. we don't know which iran will show up. do you think if diplomacy does not work, at the end of the day, whenever that time comes, israel should get a green light to go ahead and take military action against iran? >> that's up to israel, obviously. what they will think they have to do in their self-defense. but i think the only -- look. if you look at our policy, which is a global policy to stop the iranians from building nuclear weapons, everything we have done thus far has failed. they continue to enrich uranium. some people think they actually have enough of it to build a nuclear weapon now. i think the only way we're going
1:08 pm
to stop this development which will totally destabilize the middle east, strengthen the terrorists that the iranians support, and begin to tip some of the arab countries toward iran, which they really don't want to do, is for us to make it clear to the iranians that if they don't stop, they'll suffer. and the first way we want to unfortunately put suffering on them is economically. i've got a bill, 75 sponsors of it in the senate, to begin to stop the flow of gasoline into iran. because they don't have enough refinery capacity there. there's going to be a hearing in the banking committee sometime soon. i want the iranians to understand as they sit down with america and the five other great powers on october 1st if they don't begin to seriously negotiate about the end of their nuclear weapons program, they're going to be hurt economically. and maybe militarily. and they can avoid that by
1:09 pm
cooperating. and there's a lot better that will come their way if they do. >> senator, i want to ask you about lockerbie. because the senate has passed a resolution today condemning the release of the pan am bomber from scotland. brian williams sat down with the prime minister, gordon brown, today and asked about the perception that there was a str trade-off, a quid pro quo. i want to show this to you. >> the problem is msome of your citizens will forever believe and some americans it was the result of a deal and that deal had to do with oil. >> there was no deal. ky give you an absolute and unconditional ainsurance, there is no deal on oil, no deal on anything else. there was no double dealing. there was no conspiracy. there was no prior agreement or anything. this was a decision that we did not have control of. because it was made under the law of our country by the scottish administration.
1:10 pm
i yjust want to ensure people there was no deal. >> that is a category cal statement from gordon brown. there was no deal. the rest of the interview is going to be on "nightly news" tonight. do you take him at his word? >> oh, yes. look, the united kingdom is probably our closest ally in the world. gordon brown is our friend. you hear a denial like that, you've just got to accept it. but that doesn't make any less outrageous the decision to let him go back. there were people in scottish prisons guilty of much less than he was. it happened i was a senate delegation in tripoli and met with colonel gadhafi about a week before this happened. there were rumors of it coming. we said to him, everything
1:11 pm
you've done to improve your relationship with the united states, and he really has. disbanded his nuclear program. cooperating on counterterrorism. it's all going to be set back to where we were before if not only does he come home, but you greet him as a hero. of course, that's exactly what happened. and, therefore, our relationship unfortunately is set back to where it was. this was a dreadful mistake and really an insult to the memory of the people from the u.s. and elsewhere who were killed as a result of his actions. let me ask you about afghanistan. you're on the armed services committee. you've been a strong supporter of the war. i've been told in general mcchrystal's report there are actually recommendations that we would need 500,000 troops on the ground. 500,000. a combination of u.s., nato, and presumably afghan forces that
1:12 pm
they could train up. in five years, in order to accomplish our mission goals. there's no way that america can commit to that. there's no way that the afghan forces could rise to that challenge soon enough. >> that's a number that i've never heard. sometimes people will do a multiple of the number of troops you need in a counterinsurgency based on the population. but 500,000 is not going to happen. let me break it down a little bit. general mcchrystal, i know, because we were with him in kabul in august, believes that the afghan national army should go up to 260,000. we've got about 64,000 or 65,000 american soldiers there. there's another 30-some-odd coalition nato soldiers. so that gets you up to about 360,000. any estimate of what people are rumoring, that general
1:13 pm
mcchrystal may feel is necessary to add to implement the strategy that he's adopted is more in the 30,000 to 40,000 range. we're never going to have a half a million american troops there. we don't need it, and it's impossible that we'd ever do that. >> if the president should decide that they cannot accomplish the mission without a huge influx of troops and that, in fact, he needs to rethink the strategy and scale back, will you be the first one to criticize him? maybe not the first, but among those? >> well, listen. the president has a right to deliberate. but the situation on the ground in afghanistan is moving against us. the taliban has the initiative. not only my conclusion, but the chief of staff, admiral mike mullen told that to the armed services committee last week. the president, i think, really needs to make a decision soon. and, of course, i believe based on everything we learned in iraq that the way we're going to turn the tide in afghanistan is with some additional troops. not hundreds of thousands. i think we're talking about
1:14 pm
30,000 to 40,000. and that can work. and incidentally, i know the polls are beginning to show public discontent with more troops in afghanistan. and with the war effort overall. but they showed that about the war effort in iraq while it appeared we were losing. when we sent more troops in, we turned it around. iraq's now rising up on its own. now people support the war in iraq. it's a much lesser concern. we're capable of doing that in afghanistan. and if we don't, the taliban and al qaeda will be back there from which they struck us on 9/11, and pakistan, neighboring nuclear pakistan, will be dangerously destabilized. so this is a big decision for the president. and i think the only way to give us a hope of succeeding is exactly what general mcchrystal is asking. which is for some measured number of additional american troops to go in and turn the tide. >> joe lieberman, thank you so much. we have to leave it there.
1:15 pm
>> thank you, andrea. have a good day. coming up, the top u.s. general in afghanistan has said he will make his request for more troops by the end of this week. the white house plans to rework the defense strategy. former defense secretary william cohen will be joining us next.
1:16 pm
♪ bicycle, what are we waiting for? the flowers are blooming. the air is sweet. and zyrtec® starts... relieving my allergies... 2 hours faster than claritin®. my worst symptoms feel better, indoors and outdoors. with zyrtec®, the fastest... 24-hour allergy medicine, i promise not to wait as long to go for our ride. zyrtec® works fast, so i can love the air™.
1:17 pm
(announcer) transform your water. women who drink crystal light drink 20% more water.
1:18 pm
just six months after unveiling a new strategy for the war in afghanistan, president obama is now considering changing course once again. at the united nations today, the president stressed his commitment to stand by the countries on the front lines in the fight against al qaeda. >> we set a clear and focused goal to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda and its extremist allies. we will permit no safe haven for
1:19 pm
al qaeda to laumplgnch attacks afghanistan or any other nation. >> joining us on the phone, will -- william cohen. how does the president live up to that commitment? there's no way to put enough forces into afghanistan to really make sure there are no havens there, given the terrain. >> the president pursuing two strategies at once. one is counterterrorism. the other is counter -- not counterterrorism, but trying to counter insurgency. he's pursuing both. i think what he's doing at this particular point apparently is to reflect and see whether or not he can carry out both. what general mcchrystal has said is you've given me a mission of counterinsurgency. that's going to require more troops over a longer period of time. we're likely to see more american casualties if we're going to save more afghan people. that's a formulation that's going to be hard to accept on the part of many americans and
1:20 pm
perhaps even members of congress. but that's basically what general mcchrystal has said. you give me this mission. this is what i need. it may be that the president's then going to rethink his strategy and say let's focus on counterterrorism. that will require less manpower, more remote type of attacks, targeted type of attacks against selected areas. but it's a risk, to be sure, to say that we're going to forego the counterinsurgency and just pursue counterterrorism. it may be a hybrid. perhaps he can reformulate it to be a hybrid so he's not locked into one or the other but some kind of combination of both. >> let me draw you to "the washington post" reporting, some of their reporting to ining tod afghanistan. really heartbreaking story on the mcchrystal strategy and the move toward protecting civilians, doing what was done in iraq, analogous to that, and not protecting the troops enough. apparently a letter was written by a retired marine corps first
1:21 pm
sergeant john bernard to one of your former colleagues, susan collins of maine. and he complained about the strategy, that it was putting the troops too much at risk. one month later, lance corporal joshua bernard was killed. after his father's warning. >> that is a very painful report to read that to see the father's anguish. but there are many fathers and mothers who are seeing similar things take place. and this is really the challenge for president obama and for this country. again, if you're going to pursue winning hearts and minds, that means if you're going to try to protect the afghan people and to say you're going to be more -- put more boots on the ground, that you're going to be less concerned about the soldiers' security as opposed to afghan people's security, then you're looking at a formulation whereby we're going to have more casualties in the short term. and what general mcchrystal is saying, but in the long term things will get better. the question is do the american people have the patience for a
1:22 pm
long-term strategy where their sons and daughters are going to be put at greater risk? that's an open question. what also i think president obama was saying today, this cannot be president obama's war or america's war. this has to be the international community's war. either we're all in this, fighting this war, or you'll find that very few, if any, will be fighting this war and we're back to seeing al qaeda spread its message of hate and terror throughout many parts of the world. so we have to have support here. and our allies are starting to look a little bit shaky on this as well. and they're looking to the united states to make a decision. are you committed to this counterinsurgency, counterterrorism dual strategy or are you going to reformulate it? maybe we need to rethink what we're doing there. there's a lot at stake. if the has to act reasonly quickly. we want him to reflect. not too much longer because our men and women are fighting and dying over there. the longer we reflect upon it without either changing the strategy or increasing the personnel, then we're putting
1:23 pm
them at even greater risk and also risking failure as general mcchrystal has said. >> mr. secretary, as a former defense secretary, does the president have some peril here? you know the military. obviously there were leaks out of the -- there may not be the best relationship with general petraeus and the white house right now. at least there certainly seems to be some fissures. what is the real problem here that could develop for the president if he and the uniformed leaders don't agree on the strategy in afghanistan? >> well, it's not up to the military leaders to agree upon a strategy. it's up to the military leaders to say, mr. president, give us -- tell us what the mission is. give us what your strategy is. what you want us to carry out. if you give us a mission, this is what our best recommendation
1:24 pm
is what we will need to carry it out successfully. so i think what the military is saying is that if this is the mission, we need more. but you can change, mr. president. you're the commander in chief. civilian control of the military. you as commander in chief, tell us. if we have a different mission, we'll recalibrate and come back and tell you how we can carry this out to the best of our ability. that's the challenge. it's not for the military to decide what the right strategy spp that is. that's for the commander and chief and civilian leadership. the military will carry out the order, execute the order of the president of the united states. we have to be sure what he's asking them to do and whether he's committed to it. if he's not, they have to lay all the options out so they can't come back and say military misled us, thought we could do it with fewer troops, should have been more forthcoming. and so they get this blaming the military and the military blaming the administration. they don't want to do that. and i think that what's happened
1:25 pm
as a result of bob woodward reporting on this, he has forced the acceleration of the decision making process. the president was looking for more time to think about this. i think what bob woodward has done has accelerated the decision making process to say you've got a matter of a few days or weeks. but we've got to move forward if we're going to protect the men and women serving us. >> bob woodward does it again. thank you very much, bill cohen. up next, as president obama calls on world leaders to get involved with solving global problems, we'll talk to one man answering that call right here at home. founder of the brode foundation joins us next. why is dick butkus here? i hired him to speak. a lot of fortune 500 companies use him. but-- i'm your only employee. we're gonna start using fedex to ship globally-- that means billions of potential customers. we're gonna be huge. good morning! you know business is a lot like football... i just don't understand...
1:26 pm
i'm sorry dick butkus. (announcer) we understand. you want to grow internationally. fedex express proclaims "gq" magazine. did you see that? the interior "positively oozes class," raves "car magazine." "slick and sensuous," boasts "the washington times." "the most striking vw in recent memory," declares-- okay, i get it already. i think we were in a car commercial. ♪ yeah ♪ yeah.
1:27 pm
90s slacker hip-hop. ♪ that can strain your relationships and hurt yourody 'cause we'pride ♪ng a ride ♪ ♪ it's the credit roller coaster ♪ ♪ and as you can see it kinda bites! ♪ ♪ so sing the lyrics with me: ♪ when your debt goes up your score goes down ♪ ♪ when you pay a little off it goes the other way 'round ♪ ♪ it's just the same for everybody, every boy and girl ♪ ♪ the credit roller coaster makes you wanna hurl ♪ ♪ so throw your hands in the air, and wave 'em around ♪ ♪ like a wanna-be frat boy trying to get down ♪ ♪ then bring 'em right back to where your laptop's at... ♪ ♪ log on to free credit report dot com - stat! ♪ vo: free credit score and report with enrollment in triple advantage. finally, good news for people with type 2 diabetes or at risk for diabetes. introducing new nutrisystem d, the clinically tested program for losing weight and reducing blood sugar. hi i'm mike, and i lost 100 pounds on nutrisystem d when i was first diagnosed with diabetes, that first step was more like a giant leap. till i discovered nutrisystem d. in a clinical study people on nutrisystem d lost 16
1:28 pm
times more weight and reduced their blood sugar 5 times more than those on a hospital-directed plan. plus a1c was reduced .9%. choose from over 140 menu options, there is no counting carbs, calories or points. i lost 100 lbs. and lowered my blood sugar level. nutrisystem d changed my life. mike is one of many who have lost weight and controlled their diabetes with new nutrisystem d. backed by 35 years of research and low glycemic index science nutrisystem d works. satisfaction guaranteed or your money back! new! nutrisystem d. lose weight. live better. call or click today. today president obama told the united nations that the time has come for a new era of engagement of world problems. the same theme last night when the president kicked off the annual clinton global initiative meeting. >> that's when i learned that real progress does not just come from the top down, not just from
1:29 pm
government, it comes from the bottom up. from people. [ applause ] if you want to bring about change in the world, you can't just be an advocate of somebody else doing it. you can't just preach lofty goals and wait for somebody else to act. you have to step up. you have to serve. >> ely brode is founder of the brode foundation joining us now. you are someone who has stepped up. who has followed this call to action all your life, really. you've just awarded $1 million for urban education. it's dubbed the nobel prize for public education to a houston public school. public high school. what is the thinking behind your willingness to do this? >> you know, earn's down in urban education. we decided seven years ago that there are places that are doing a great job.
1:30 pm
we award the prize to an urban school district that meets the greatest gains in student achievement while closing the gap in -- >> houston, the school has 68,000 students in this district. 64% hispanic, 40% black. >> it's an additional million dollars that the winner gets. >> how do you think you can turn the corner on public education in other school districts where places are still struggling? what is this administration doing? >> this administration is really committed to improving public education. you now have 48 governors that have agreed with the president and his secretary to have for the first time national standards. you've got an administration that believes we need more charter schools.
1:31 pm
you have an administration that believes we need better teaching, including compensation for teachers. there are a lot of good things happening right now. in addition to the $100 billion of stimulus money for education. part of that is $4.5 billion which will only go to states reforming their systems. >> we've got the g-20 leaders meeting in pittsburgh and the economy, so much on people's minds. in your latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll which just came out last night, 47% now think the economy in the next 12 months will get better. 20% still think it's going to get worse. the market's beginning to come back a bit. still unemployment, a lagging indicator, is going to continue to get worse. we've had all the warnings. what is your sense of how the broad economy is beginning to improve? >> i think we've bottomed out. i done believe we're going to have any rapid recovery. as you've already said, we're going to have unemployment go to double digits shortly.
1:32 pm
i don't think we're going to get back to single digits before the end of 2010. and i think it's going to be three or four years before we really start digging out of the situation we're in. >> is it one single thing or two single things that the world leaders can do in pittsburgh tomorrow when they meet to really make a difference? to change things? >> well, i think we've been a locomotive. 70% of our economy has been consumer oriented. consumers are snake bit, as they say. they're saving more. with unemployment high, i think what they can do is induce other economies such as chinese people to start becoming consumer, rather than just investing in heavy industry and ship things to the united states. >> ely broad. you've really made a difference. her for the clinton global initiative. we thank you for stopping by. >> good to be with you. straight ahead, new york congresswoman joins us on andrea mitchell reports. you mean...
1:33 pm
tdd# 1-800-345-2550 when my broker said, "i make money when you make money," tdd# 1-800-345-2550 he neglected to mention tdd# 1-800-345-2550 he also makes money when i lose money, tdd# 1-800-345-2550 withdraw money or do nothing with my money. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 tdd# 1-800-345-2550
1:34 pm
now that's progressive. call or click today.
1:35 pm
1:36 pm
the upscale community of bedford, new york, in westchester county has issued a stop work arder after libyans pitched a tent in a backyard on property rented from donald trump for libyan leader moammar gadhafi. joining us from capitol hill, new york congresswoman nita lowey who's district includes the town of bedford. interesting changes in your neighborhood, congresswoman. what is your opposition, i should say? take it straight to you. what is your opposition to the tent for moammar gadhafi in bedford? >> you know, it's so shocking. he certainly lea lly needs a co diplomacy 101. new york lost so many victims of the 190 in the plane crash after the bomber, who was just welcomed back by gadhafi with open arms. and, in fact, i knew several of
1:37 pm
the parents. one of them worshipped with me in my synagogue. the pain is still raw. for him to think, to have the audacity to think that he could be welcomed and pitch a welcoming entertainment tent in westchester, it's shocking. and it's especially shocking because we know of his terrorist past. we know he was trying to redeem himself in the world community. then he opens his arms wide to the bomber, the person who plotted it. the whole thing is shocking. i'm glad he stayed at the libyan embassy last night. >> well, it does occur to me that the administration has welcomed him here. the united nations has welcomed him here for the first time in 40 years. isn't there a disconnect between obama policy, the president's policy, and your criticism of gadhafi? >> i think it's very consistent. mr. gadhafi is part of the world
1:38 pm
community. we all hope that we will see steps on his part to make him welcome into the world community of peaceful nations. but to think of community like westchester county in bedford would say, sure, come up here, entertain, when our constituents lost their lives and the raw wounds are still evident if you talk with the parents. >> i know the senate has passed a resolution today against the release by scotland of the pan am bomber. gordon brown, the prime minister, sat down with brian williams today, said there was no quid pro quo. no deals were made, no oil deals. do you accept that from the uk? >> frankly, i don't know if there was a deal or there wasn't a deal. but i do know that this is a man who was clearly convicted of his part in blowing up pan am plane
1:39 pm
that killed 190 innocent victims. i do know that gadhafi opened his arms and welcomed the bomber back to libya. so i think the issue here is he has a lot more to do to be part of the international community. and i would hope that the bomber would be sent back and kept in jail for the rest of his life. >> nita lowey, thank you very much, congresswoman. >> thank you. straight ahead, iran's president enters the nuclear spotlight as he prepares to address the u.n. general assembly later today. what will mahmoud ahmadinejad say about his country's nuclear ambitions? how will the u.s. respond? senator john kerry, chair of the senate foreign relations committee joining us next. when i first saw the new outback it looked so different to me. but when i got back from my first trip...
1:40 pm
...the look was unmistakable. more room for adventure. the all-new subaru outback. that make every day special. fancy feast introduces an entirely new way to celebrate any moment. fancy feast appetizzrs. simple high qualiiy ingredients like wild alaskan salmon,
1:41 pm
white meat chicken, or seabass and shrimp in a delicate broth, prepared without by-products or fillers. new fancy feast appetizers celebrate the moment.
1:42 pm
. president obama issued a warning for iran and north korea
1:43 pm
today, saying their actions threatened to take a world down a dangerous road. >> i'm committed to diplomacy that opens a path to greater prosperity and more secure peace for both nations if they live up to their obligations. but if the governments of iran and north korea choose to ignore international standards, if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people, if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both east asia and the middle east, then they must be held accountable. >> of course, getting them to be held accountable is another challenge. but this in just now today. russia, according to to a russian official at the united nations, is prepared to discuss further sanctions against iran if u.n. nuclear inspectors decide that the islamic republic has not fulfilled its obligations under nuclear treaties. according to the official, i do not allow russia taking part in working out -- concerning sanks
1:44 pm
against iran if there are enough grounds for that provided by the iaea, the international atomic energy agency. that according to to a member of the delegation traveling with russian president medvedev to the united nations today. of course, the russian president will be having a very important meeting with president obama today. joining us now, chairman of the foreign relations committee, john kerry johni injoining us f washington. so much on the president's plate and of course yours as well. we had moammar gadhafi delivering an hour and 36 minute speech, his first in the u.n. in 40 years. ahmadinejad will come later tonight. what does the u.s. do about iran? especially because we have had repeated warnings, including from the israeli defense minister at the pentagon this week that israel will not back down. if diplomacy with iran doesn't work israel would consider yun literal military action? >> we need to proceed the way we are proceeding with our allies, our close allies.
1:45 pm
we particularly need to engage russia and china in this effort. i think i just heard you read something about russian communique with respect to their attitude on it. the key is to proceed forward. i believe there is a possibility of an engagement on this issue that ultimately could find a way out of this confrontation. but the elections and the process in iran have significantly complicated our ability to get at that. i still believe we will get at it. and hopefully we'll be able to make some progress there. >> what if israel would proceed with military action without a green light from the u.s.? clearly, we would be blamed anyway throughout the world, particularly in the arab world. but what would be the damage to u.s. national security and the possibility of retaliation from iran against u.s. interests, not only israel, but also our own forces? >> andrea, there are enormous
1:46 pm
questions with respect to any kind of military option, not just for israel but for anybody. those of us who have seen those plans, and this has been discussed publicly before without getting into anything classified, everybody understands it's not a fantastic option, though it is an option. israel's efforts to do it unilaterally, first of all, require some kind of resolution of overflight issues. but in addition to that, there is no way possible to the best of my understanding for israel to do more than temporarily, and the question is even how temporarily, disrupt some aspects of the program. it cannot terminate it. so inevitably, yes, we would be brought into that one way or the other. and there are serious interests in the region that would be very, very significant lly
1:47 pm
affected by it. i think there are a lot of reasons to hope that diplomacy and restraint will win out here so that that option is never exercised. >> the president has engaged in a rather messy public debate, one he did not welcome, but which resulted from bob woodward getting hold of general mcchrystal's report. how do you view the decisions that are now on the table publicly about whether to increase troops? >> personally, andrea, i'm very glad that that debate is out in the open. that's where it belongs. the american people need to be part of this debate. and it is -- it is the most important foreign policy debate of immediacy on the table. the fact is that general mcgi mcchrystal, if i were in his shoes, given the mission he's been given in the current context i'd probably draw many of the same conclusions if not all of them. but the question is really ques
1:48 pm
whether or not the analysis goes to all of the options and, in fact, examines all of the underlying assumptions with respect to afghanistan. he has examined the mission, given the mission that he has been given, but is it the right mission? have we properly made the right assumptions about afghanistan? you know, the original mission the president defined was a mission that was counterterrorism. it required us to disrupt, dismantle, terminate the al qaeda presence there and to prevent the destabilization of pakistan. the question has not been properly vetted, i think, is to what degree is counter insurgency either necessary or an essential ingredient of the effort to achieve the counterterrorism and destabilization goals? i don't think that that has been properly examined yet. we are looking at that within the foreign relations committee in the hearings that we are
1:49 pm
holding. i'm planning to go to afghanistan and pakistan in a few weeks in order to really dig into that further. we may well decide that, indeed, you have to have more troops to accomplish the very raw basics of the mission the president has set, but we need to make that decision in full daylight with a full examination of all the assumptions and of all of the possibilities. one final comment, we don't know today what the government of afghanistan is either going to look like or what it's capable of. and one thing that's for certain, none of our goals can be achieved without governance changing in afghanistan. >> all points that i'm glad you've been covering today. one political note, because paul kirk, our old friend paul kirk, former democratic national chairman is reported to be the choice of the kennedy sons to be the interim senator, the
1:50 pm
appointee, and your new colleague, of course, what do you think of that possibility? he, of course, has been the head of the kennedy library? >> sure. well, i know paul very, are very well and admire him greatly. he is a friend and i have known him for many, many years, but i don't -- you know, i don't want to comment on any sort of rumors or reports or speculation about who or who may not be in the running for that. that is the governor's appointment. the legislature has not yet finished its work up in massachusetts. so let's take first step's first and we will all learn about this, i'm sure, in short order. >> okay, john kerry, chairman of the foreign relations committee. thank you very much. and what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours? that is next on msnbc, the place for politics. to silence headaches...
1:51 pm
doctors recommend tylenol... more than any other brand... of pain reliever. tylenol rapid release gels... release medicine fast. so you can stop headaches... and feel better fast. well at allstate, more is actually less. the more policies you switch, the less you pay. discounts for combining your car insurance with... home insurance, motorcycle, atv, boat, another car, motor scooter, motor home, snowmobile...
1:52 pm
1:53 pm
so, political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours?
1:54 pm
"washington post"/white house reporter chris cillizza has more. >> i will be brief. what we are going to get if we don't have an or tomorrow from governor deval patrick going to formalize it. front-runner, as you guys have been reporting is paul kirk, long-time man. ted kennedy wants paul kirk. >> paul kirk, an old friend of the kennedy family and former democratic chairman, thank you, chris. >> thank you. >> more from chris on his blog, blog."washington post."com/the fix. i'm andrea mitchell new york. contessa brewer picks up our coverage next. announcer: what if you could rewrite your hair's past and give it a whole new life? introducing a transformation in hair care. new aveeno nourish plus.
1:55 pm
only aveeno has harnessed the power of active naturals' wheat complex in formulas that target and fortify the weakest parts of hair, proven to help visibly repair damage in just three washes. - for stronger, shinier-- - hair with life. announcer: write a new story for your hair. the new aveeno nourish plus collection. that's the beauty of nature and science. i was shopping for ♪ which one's me - a cool convertible or an suv? ♪ ♪ too bad i didn't know my credit was whack ♪ ♪ 'cause now i'm driving off the lot in a used sub-compact. ♪
1:56 pm
♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free credit report dot com, baby. ♪ ♪ saw their ads on my tv ♪ thought about going but was too lazy ♪ ♪ now instead of looking fly and rollin' phat ♪ ♪ my legs are sticking to the vinyl ♪ ♪ and my posse's getting laughed at. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free- credit report dot com, baby. ♪
1:57 pm
dueling speeches at the united nations. specific and comprehensive. moammar gadhafi hogging the microphone for more than an hour in a speech that could be generously described as
1:58 pm
wide-reaching. >> we are happy if obama can stay forever as the president of america. >> that was about the nicest thing he had to say about america. good wednesday, everyone, welcome to msnbc. i'm contessa brewer. as if gadhafi wasn't enough, waiting to hear from iran's president, ahmadinejad, later today. plus -- >> [ inaudible ]. >> a virginia man looking for answers about why his health insurance premiums went up gets arrested for trespassing on the insurance company's property. he joins us to talk about his mission and his trial. actor john travolta testifying against an ambulance driver and a former senator in the bahamas, accused of trying to get 25 million bucks from the movie star to keep secret details about his son's death. and the video that made hardened news producers gasp, an out-of-control driver careening directly toward a 6-year-old girl, we will show you what happened. let's get right to the big story this hour. two big speeches in front of
1:59 pm
world leaders at the u.n. general assembly. first, president obama who said that world leaders aren't living up to their responsibilities when it comes to solving the world's issues. he said while he understands anti-american sentiment it is no excuse not to take action. >> make no mistake, this cannot solely be america's endeavor. those who used to chastise america for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for america to solve the world's problems alone. >> with me now, nbc washington bureau chief, mark whitaker. mark what did the president accomplish with his speech today? >> i think if,000 boil the speech down into one phrase, one message, it was "i am not george w. bush. i believe in multilateralism. i'm willing to work with the member states of the united nations on a variety of initiatives," but he also challenged them and said, look, you have to stop, as


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on